Smithsonian Channel // 2006 // 140 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // November 27th, 2010
Submerge yourself in a world of wonder...
Nature fans will certainly appreciate Smithsonian Network's Down Under the Sea, a pair of educational documentaries focusing on the vast, majestic underwater world off the coast of Australia. Featuring a horde of gorgeous footage and instructional audio commentaries, The Big Blue introduces viewers to the mysteries surrounding the giant blue whale, while Secrets of the Great Barrier Reef examines the wonders of a 1,200-mile coral reef and its variety of struggling marine inhabitants.
The Big Blue primarily follows a group of ambitious fishermen trying everything in their power to spot blue whales and observe them during their feeding process. The blue whale remains a mysterious mammal, and this short documentary shows what we know about these fascinating creatures. Although the spotlight obviously belongs to the whale, the film also offers a quick look at how the region's oceanic birds, seals, and penguins reproduce and to what extent they struggle for survival.
Visually, The Big Blue is intriguing, boasting some stunning underwater shots and a vast collection of impressive aerial footage that highlight the enormous size and beauty of the blue whale as it reaches the surface of the ocean. On top of that, interviews with eager fishermen and an informative narration provide audiences with an entertaining crash course about the marine world.
Meanwhile, the second documentary, Secrets of the Great Barrier Reef, focuses on the many ways the coral reef's living organisms use to protect themselves and reproduce to increase their chances of survival. Underwater life at the reef comes with lots of challenges, and the film illustrates these struggles via visually stunning underwater shots that offer gorgeous closeups of the reef's structure, colors, and its unique inhabitants.
These unique images require a solid picture quality, and this DVD set comes loaded with clean, sharp images and vivid colors that only enhance the viewing experience. In terms of bonus material, the first disc includes Footprints on the Water, a compelling 45-minute documentary chronicling the work of Na Hauser, an ambitious conservationist who made it her life mission to protect endangered whales and further explore them.
Down Under the Sea is just the right collection for those seeking more knowledge about Australia's underwater world. Informative, entertaining, and to the point, these two documentaries from the Smithsonian Channel take viewers on an adventure filled with great images and exciting facts about marine exploration.
Review content copyright © 2010 Franck Tabouring; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Smithsonian Channel
* 1.66:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 140 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Site